Saturday, December 03, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Well, I may be some infinitesimally small part Irish, but today the luck was provided by visitors Phil and Tim from Maui. Thanks! My day started out thinking there was little chance of getting any flying in.

On the chat box, we saw posts like these:
Flystrong: cruddy gray curtain towards KNA....
Scrappy: I could use a fun flight but UGGG, Grey mush out here.
Sidehill: Looking toward puu kona looks soupy grey too.
Frank: Wind just went too east for mpu and too strong for koko krater.
But being the true paragliding addict I am, I headed out to Kahana to scope it out anyway.

On arrival at the beach, it looked flyable, and I made a couple calls to report to Thom and Jeff McStalker, since my access to chatter is limited to certain spots at Kahana. I even sent Jeff a picture. Well, my first flight, a solo adventure, didn't last too long.

I hiked up to regular high launch where the wind was lighter than I expected and quite easterly. Being the lazy type, I opted to launch, and wasn't able to get much above launch height. I ended up on the beach after only 10-15 minutes, where I met Edna and her husband Tim from Portland. Ginny made her appearance around that time too.

The conditions weren't looking all that promising, so Portland Tim and Edna left to pursue other sources of amusement. I opted to have a sacrificial beverage (or two), while I enjoyed Ginny's company on the beach.

Then the Maui boys, Tim and Phil, showed up, with Sharky making his debut on site too. The Maui Irish luck kicked in, and conditions suddenly seemed to brighten up enough to give it a go. Off we went: me, Phil, and Tim, followed shortly by Sharky. I got them all to assist me off of mid launch for this flight, but yelled down to them to hike to high after I launched.

I called Tim from Portland while I was flying to let him know the window was open, although I really didn't know for how long. Sharky and Phil were able to get off, but the fickle Wind Goddess kept Tim on the ground, with gusts up to 20+ on high launch.

Tim from Portland made the trip back, and hiked up, in a futile attempt to get airborne. Jeff Mc hiked up, and got off gracefully in his new black beauty, by timing the gusts just right on regular low launch. Thom, Maui Tim, and Portland Tim all opted to hike down, while Maui Doug got off high north launch on his Aspen 3 26.

Jeff and Doug had their own mini XC to go land in Punalu'u, since the Kahana winds had trended back to super east and sometimes rotory conditions on the beach. They landed safely in strong conditions, and got a ride back from Sharky who had landed earlier on the regular LZ. Bonnie and Phil tried out kiting my Little Cloud for a while, but the wind just got too weird to even do that. Thanks to everyone for their help, and for the post flight refreshments from Phil and Sharky.


Alex said...

Great story, Jim! I know how strange it can be to fly on those grey voggy days when the synoptic wind is ESE but you have enough onshore flow at Kahana to get in the air anyway. And you know I'm poring over every detail of these stories, since I'm freezing my tiny man parts off here on the mainland. The only detail that's missing from this one is the landing of your second flight. Hmmm. Either it was too interesting to include here, or you are still up there, posting this story from your phone. Man, you guys are having way too much fun without me!

Waianae Jim said...

@ Alex - my second landing was uneventful - Sharkey landed at regular LZ first heeding the siren call of the cooler, and reported fairly consistent conditions there with a few bumps on approach. I followed him in about 10 minutes later after a nice hour plus flight, to partake in a the honored tradition of cooler flying as well. Maui Phil made it in there too. By time Jeff and Maui Doug made it up we were getting some serious rotor on the beach with wind switching from anywhere between NNW and almost SE,it was scary, but good because Phil & Tim from Maui got to see what I had tried to caution them about before we hiked up.
I also forgot to mention Reaper got some tows in over at Kualoa with Lake and John, and then joined us for some post flight frostys.

Thom said...

Thanks Jim, I slept late and did not really expect a story. I guess my bitching about your 2 flights and your obligation to document the day paid off. Man, if I could only bitch around the house here to get these kids to clean their room.

Great story, I am not sure if Alex super tweaked your story or not, like he does mine. I wish you would compose more of these logs and maybe it would entice others to do the same.

Maybe an award next year for the most stories and/or best story published.....Alex excluded of course!

I did not get to fly yesterday, but to get an awesome coffee read by someone that did, makes it a better start of a day.

Thanks One-Eye Jim

Marco said...

You forgot that Reaper and I were flying there too on that day. We all hiked up to northern launch. I got in the air directly after Sharky and Reaper was last to follow. Then I shared the air with Sharky for quite some time on the nothern ridge. At the end I got a dry landing at the southern part of the LZ.